Balance in scoring - playing for fun vs score

On ep171 of C2C, @Coast2CoastPinball and @pinwizj had a really cool discussion on games that were very well balanced. Balance was defined by never having to ask the question, “Are we playing for fun or score?” I think the idea is that to score most efficiently that you’d want to play through the modes and achieve the wizard modes.

Mentioned specifically was Metallica, but i wonder what other games fit. I’d assume Ironman fits pretty well as well - but what about Mustang? Does it fit? It’s getting a lot of buzz so but I never get to play it.


Yeah it probably fits, but i’m obsessed with the game so playing for fun and for a high score are the same thing. I see his point though, you can go for a 100 mil super during 6th gear multiball if you’re trying to reduce a massive deficit in scoring. But this can be slightly mundane compared to doing what the game wants you to do during modes.

Hmmm. I guess I view getting to the 50M Gear 6 SJP (and all the ball control recovery you have to pull off along the way when shooting drops), being able to double it (without the random ball hitting the captive ball), and cash it in for 100M as a LOT of fun.

I was thinking Iron Man the whole time they were talking too! Not sure about other games though as I’m not good enough with rules, etc. to know.

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TaF stands out to me as a game where playing a lot of things out and working towards the endgame (not sure I’d really call Tour a wizard mode since it’s not a mode, but semantics) feels like it’s not something you really have to go very far out of your way to accomplish.

TZ falls into that role as well; sure multiball is a huge part of scoring that doesn’t lead to a lot of progress, but given that most of the time you’re feeding right ramp shots into the piano, it’s not a big stretch getting to LitZ if you’re already doing that well anyway.

Tron also falls into that niche, maybe the most of all, because literally if you’re not playing through the objectives in that game, what else is there to do?

FG/Shrek also work well, since most of the scoring in those comes from playing the modes out.

STtNG is another good one, since good modes == huge scoring in Final Frontier. Heck I’d even say Stern ST with the latest code does a long way to remedy the “just sit and time everything out” problem, but then I’m not sure what the prevalent strat is now on the new code.

If you are ever timing out a mode, that means they didn’t make it worth enough points.


Playing for points never interested me at all. And that goes for playing games on home computers back in the day, arcade gaming and pinball.

Progress through levels and modes is the only thing I was ever interested in. And extra balls of course. I has been so bad at times that, on location pinball where I played the same machine a lot, I was bored by regular multiball modes and really just wanted them to end so I could persuit the quest for the wizard mode or what ever.

This has really haunted me when I started to play competitive pinball. And it still does actually.